Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gotta Sneak in Some Seriousness

I've been arguing lately. Mostly with myself. But sometimes with fellow believers who love God and love to worship Him.  And by arguing, I mean vigorously exchanging ideas while only half-listening to the other person because I'm already thinking about what I'm going to say next.  (Hey, just telling it like it happens.) So I thought I'd write some of this down. If you want to join in, I'd love your thoughts.

We're arguing/talking about worship at church. How we worship, what we worship, when we worship, where we worship....all that. And more. Wowsers!! It's a lot to talk about.  And it begets lots of talk about what people look like when they worship and what kind of worship they like and I've been dabbling in conversations trying to stir up some passion about why we do what we do where we do it and who we do it with.

(And here's a purple iris for you. Has nothing to do with this post, but it's fun to look at.)

So over the next week, I'm gonna blog snippets of  those conversations that happen in my head when I'm all by myself and that occasionally happen with other people:

Argument Starter: We're pretty open about how other people should worship.
Oh, seriously. No we're not! I think most people believe other people’s worship should look a lot like their own. Oh, we'd like to think we're so tolerant and it's all just about everyone focusing on God, but I don't think that runs very deep. Because if someone messes with our own worship agenda we tend to FREAK OUT!

For instance, in my own life, I like it when people raise hands during worship. The Bible talks about it, it is the universal sign of surrender, it conveys dependence, etc..... I even like dancing in church because I dance a lot in my regular life. Like when I'm cooking dinner, and when I'm sweeping and when Beautiful Girls by Sean Kingston comes on the radio. I dance. With myself, my kids, my husband, my girlfriends. So I'm probably going to dance in my worship. So singing: yes. Hands up: yes. Dancing: yes. Laying out on the floor prostrate: a little weird.  

See? I'm starting to freak out. Not because it's unBiblical, not because I haven't seen it before. I've actually even done it before but I'm still not totally accustomed to it. But what would I do if everyone laid out prostrate on Sunday morning? Like face on the floor in front of me?  The Bible talks about that, too, but I might question it or get a quirky look on my face or I might join them with my own face planted. You never know.

But I definitely like it when people are demonstrative with worship.  When I think I can see on their face what their attitude toward God is  it inspires me to worship along with them.  And to be truthful, I consider that when I'm leading worship. Other people are watching me when I worship on a stage and I’m trying to non-verbally communicate that I love God and this is really important to me.  

So, any thoughts? Are we tolerant about worship? Biblical about worship? Does it matter? Would we change something if we learned something new?


AKA said...

Ooooh. No comments? Too soon? Or too hard? Well I'll go first. I love the post. Something people really only like to talk about with "their kind" usually, but once again Jody goes long (football reference, girls) and asks some probing questions.

Here's what I think... Worship is about God. Not about you. Not about me. Not about that lady that sat behind me in church my entire childhood that could break glass with her off-key vibrato-thingy. It's about God. Do your thing w/ the right focus.

In my personal experience, worship has been one of those polarizing topics rarely taught/discussed in church or commented on by church leadership. Why is that? Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Jody.

Edward and Gretchen said...

Are you talking about what music style you like and how a person responds to that music? Cuz last I checked worship is an attitude of the heart when in the presence of God. Worship can be prayer, drawing, study, music, reading the Bible, obeying God, tithing, sharing your faith, serving others, living life purposely for Him, etc. You can dance while listening to music but it would be hard to dance while drawing.

It sounds like you are talking about music preference and how that impacts you, not how it impacts God. You may be exposing your bias here about "worship".
Just a thought.

"Worship through music is only a small portion of what true, biblical worship is all about. Worship is the process of surrendering our entire life into God’s hands. Everything we do can – and should -- be an act of worship." Purpose Driven Life

Exodus 7:16
'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert.
Wow! That doesn't sound very exciting. I wonder if they had a worship band? Certainly the must have, right?

Jody said...

Amy,I'm totally with you that worship is about God. And I think perhaps we don't talk about it much because we think everybody's already supposed to know how to do this...but what I'm finding is most people don't. So let's keep talking about it.

Ed, agree completely that worship is an attitude in the presence of God. Which is ALL THE TIME. Thanks for keeping it real.

Specifically, in this post I'm dealing with corporate worship. What we do when we're altogether to do it. In your Exodus passage focusing on the "people" and the "they".

And while all of life IS worship, God also mentions singing to Him something like 500 times in the Bible but only lifting hands like maybe a dozen and most often in prayer, not in singing. I'm not sure he mentions drawing at all. :) But undoubtedly there are those who were created to create and therefore worship God by it.

I'm thinkin' He gives some guidelines as to how he expects to be worshiped with attitude of our hearts being first and all-encompassing....but what then?

Guess I need another post...

Edward and Gretchen said...

FYI, It's Gretchen here mostly. Ed was in bed when I wrote this. However he did wake up in time to add his words to the second paragraph.

Ginger said...

The phrase "tolerant about worship" made me cringe. I think you make a good point though, that we tend to worship the way others around us are worshiping. If we lift our hands in worship, would we still do it visiting a Church of Christ? Would we lie prostrate in a church that never does that? It is a shame how we bend to the culture around us instead of worshiping God as He is calling us to- with authenticity and sincerity.